Today I’m going to share a technique to help you see that there are things beyond your body to be grateful for about yourself, and this is going to be a very powerful shift because we tend to look at ourselves with very narrow judgment criteria. We will measure our worth and self-esteem based on what the scale says, and the size of our jeans, and the wrinkles around our eyes, and our mom pooches, or the flab on our arms. But we forget that we are MORE than just a body. We are MORE than our appearance.
And practicing gratitude in a very specific way today is going to help you to hone in on this and shift your inner dialogue, which I promise is going to help you tremendously through this holiday season and beyond.
One other tool I want to put in your hands is my free Holiday Intuitive Eating Guide. It’s a guide packed with tips for staying away from diet culture during the holidays so that you can listen to your body, enjoy the seasonal foods, and manage those big holiday gatherings without feeling stressed out and guilty.
An Attitude of Gratitude Towards Yourself
How many times have you gotten on the scale first thing in the morning, and how your weight compares to yesterday determines how you feel about yourself that day? It’s such a crummy way to start our day, and we’ve been taught to give that hunk of metal so much power over our emotions.
That’s something that I want you to unlearn. All the scale is measuring is your gravitational pull. It’s really not that exciting. It’s certainly not a reflection of whether or not you’re a good person, or whether or not you deserve to eat today, or whether you can enjoy your favorite coffee drink on the way to work. Yet most of us have used the scale as a way to gauge what we will and won’t let ourselves do at one time or another.
We’re going to expand your horizons today. We’re going to look at how you can view yourself more comprehensively as a multifaceted person who has many sides and many hats that you wear, and many characteristics that make you YOU. Because you are more than just the size, shape or weight of your body.
The technique I’m going to teach you for being grateful about yourself is my Whole Person Word Cloud activity.
- STEP 1: Take a blank piece of paper and in the middle it says “I am…”
- Surrounding the phrase “I am…” you are going to write words that describe who you are. Perhaps it’s roles you play in life, such as mother, sister, friend, or daughter. Maybe it’s your job role, or things you volunteer for.
- You can also write down personality traits about yourself. How would you describe your personality? How would others describe you?
- The goal here is to describe yourself in your Whole Person Word Cloud in a fairly comprehensive way, to help you see and appreciate how multifaceted you are as a human being.
- If it feels important to you to put something on your Word Cloud about your body, great. I simply ask that you do it without negative judgment because that’s not going to help you. We don’t need to reinforce those neural pathways. So if you identify as fat and you can use that in a non-demeaning way, and that feels like part of who you are, awesome! Or you might feel compelled to say I have curly hair, or brown eyes, or that you’re tall or short or that you’re black or brown skinned, or perhaps a disability you live with. It’s 100% ok if physical features are part of our identity – AND we want to put this in perspective that it’s not our entire identity.
- No single thing in this cloud will depict your entire identity. You aren’t ever going to be only this or only that. You’re not only a mom, or only a graphic designer, or only anything else. These are all facets of who you are as a deliciously complicated human.
- STEP 2: Take a highlighter to your Word Cloud and highlight 5 things you’re grateful for about yourself.
- If you didn’t have 5 things on the Word Cloud I want you to go back and build it up to at least 10-15. You might have to stretch yourself on this, but trust me it’s worth it. We need to expand your brain to realize that there are SO many pieces to who you are. Even if you have to fake it a little bit, write down at least 10-15 characteristics about yourself on your word cloud. The fact that this is challenging to you means you’re onto something important here.
- Now find 5 of them that you are grateful for, or that you’re willing to work on experiencing gratitude for. You might not feel that gratitude yet at your core, that’s ok. We are working on building that muscle of gratitude. I’ve seen this activity bring people to tears when they realize how much self-loathing they carry around. As hokie as this exercise might seem, if you allow yourself to lean into it with an open mind and an open heart, it will be therapeutic for you. (And come on, humor me, think about all the absurd things you’ve done in the name of health and wellness in the past. This one is pretty benign compared to some of the diet culture crap we’ve been told to do. If you can drink ACV or celery juice, or pretend that rice cakes taste like cookies, then you can pretend you’re grateful for your own character traits, am I right?)
- STEP 3: Get a bowl, put it on your table, your desk, or your nightstand – and each day write one of these things on it. By the end of the holiday season, you’ll have gratitude confetti. When you write your gratitude slip each day, take a moment to connect with WHY you feel grateful for the thing on the paper. If you feel like you want to write something different than the 5 things you initially picked, that’s totally fine if something else is speaking to you that day. Or if you want to write more than one thing that’s great. Research shows that a gratitude practice like this is wonderful for our mental health and wellbeing and it changes the neural pathways in our brains and how we view the world.
I hope that this holiday season (and beyond!) you can connect with things to be grateful for about yourself that aren’t about your weight or your appearance. You are so much more than a number on the scale or a size on a pair of jeans. You are a wonderful person, and you have so much to offer the world – I mean it.
Let’s get connected!
Looking for more support on your journey to food freedom and body acceptance?
- Join my Facebook group & community “Intuitive Eating Made Easy”
- Take my FREE quiz “What’s Your Unique Path to Food Freedom?”
- Save $120 on HelloFresh, my fav food delivery service!
- Check out my course, Non-Diet Academy